Start with XVI: why FINAL FANTASY XVI is the perfect introduction to the series

New to the FINAL FANTASY series and wondering where to start? The most recent game is the perfect place - here’s why.
By Duncan Heaney

Where to begin?

That’s one of the big questions that gamers new to FINAL FANTASY often ask. It’s not surprising - with 16 mainline games in the series, it can be daunting to know which you should play first.

The official answer, of course, is: any of them. Each game is standalone, so players can start anywhere and have a good time. Even so, with FINAL FANTASY XVI winning hearts and minds, they’ll inevitably wonder whether they can jump right into the new hotness.

Here’s the quick answer: yes, you can. In fact, FINAL FANTASY XVI is a truly fantastic entry point for new players. Here’s why:

It’s a complete, standalone adventure

As mentioned, every mainline FINAL FANTASY game is a completely standalone game. This is one of the defining aspects of the series - each entry has its own world, its own story, characters and even gameplay mechanics.

So, if it helps, don’t think of this as the 16th FINAL FANTASY game, but as the 1st ‘FINAL FANTASY XVI’ game.

No prior knowledge of the other games in the series is required to enjoy FINAL FANTASY XVI - in fact, there’s no narrative connection between the other games at all. The game tells a complete tale with a beginning, middle and end, featuring original characters and a fascinating new world.

So just jump in and enjoy the story… because what a story it is!

It tells a very approachable - and mature - story

The FINAL FANTASY series tells all kind of tales, from light-hearted romps to sprawling sci-fi sagas. The story in FINAL FANTASY XVI is an epic in the classical sense - a sweeping tale that runs the gamut from tragedy and injustice to hope and heroism.

It’s set in Valisthea - a land where select humans are able to call on the power of devastatingly powerful creatures called Eikons. Depending on the realm, these individuals - called ‘Dominants’ - are treated as royalty or forced into service as weapons of war.

You take command of Clive Rosfield - firstborn son of the Duke of Rosaria, and older brother to Joshua Rosfield - the Dominant of the Phoenix. When tragedy strikes his family, Clive sets out on a journey of revenge… one that will change the fate of Valisthea forever.

It’s one of the darkest stories in the series yet. It’s also exciting, easy to follow and - fair warning - powerfully affecting in places. Even the stoniest heart is going to feel something.

If you’re just a lore-fiend like me, you can even hold down the touch pad at almost any time to activate the ‘Active Time Lore’ system. This presents you with information about the current scene, from characters, to settlements, to the mechanics of the world itself.

It’s useful if you want a bit more information about anything in the game, or just a reminder as to what’s happened with certain characters or settings over the course of the story.

It all adds up to one of the most mature, most propulsive stories in the series to date… and a perfect entry point for new fans.

The action is intense… but welcoming

While combat is a big part of any RPG, the action in FINAL FANTASY is at another level. You’ll face off against all kinds of enemies, from monstrous beasts to even more monstrous humans, in exhilarating real-time battles that will put your skills to the test.

Playing as Clive, you’ll have access to an ever-expanding arsenal of amazing Eikonic abilities, letting you do everything from flaying enemies with a flaming claw, to shocking them with balls of powerful lightning. Combined with the responsive swordplay and oh-so-satisfying dodge mechanic, every encounter is a fast-paced joy.

What’s makes it a particularly great entry point, however, is how welcoming it is. It invites players of all skill levels and outlooks to enjoy it - if, for example, you’re not comfortable with action games, or just in it for the story, you can equip special Timely Accessories to make things more manageable.

For example, if you want to make dodging a snap, you can use the Ring of Timely Evasion, while the Ring of Timely Healing will keep you fighting fit by automatically using potions when in danger.

It’s a game for everyone.

You can try it for free

If you’re still on the fence as to whether you should start with XVI, then here’s the best advice we can give you: just try it for yourself.

There’s a massive demo available to download right now, which contains the entire prologue to the game… and a bit extra. You’ll get to play through the start of the adventure, battle some terrifying foes and experience the traumatic incident that forges a young and inexperienced Clive into a battle-hardened hero.

All your progress carries over to the final game too, so if you like what you play (spoilers: pretty sure you will), you can carry on later when you upgrade to the full experience.

There’s also an extra section unlocked when you complete the demo - the ‘Eikonic Challenge.’ This puts you in an area from later in the game, with many abilities unlocked so you can experience Clive’s expanded combat suite. It’s been specially curated for the demo, so progress doesn’t carry over, but you’ll get a taste of what combat’s like after the prologue eases you in.

To find out more about the demo, check out the Square Enix Blog:

As you hopefully now understand, FINAL FANTASY XVI is a perfect entry point to the FINAL FANTASY series, and potentially a first step into one of the best RPG series ever made. If you’d like more information of the other games and the series as a whole, be sure to check out our article:

FINAL FANTASY XVI is out now on PS5. Three editions are available:

FINAL FANTASY XVI Standard Edition (physical and digital)

This edition, as you’d expect, contains:

  • The full game

It's available now:

FINAL FANTASY XVI Deluxe Edition (physical only)

This version of the game includes:

  • The full game
  • A Special Clive Rosfield SteelBook Case
  • A cloth map of Valisthea - where the story unfolds

It’s available now on the Square Enix Store:

FINAL FANTASY XVI Digital Deluxe Edition (digital only)

This edition includes:

  • The full game
  • A digital mini artbook that features some of the stunning illustrations from the game
  • A digital mini soundtrack showcasing a selection of incredible tracks from composer Masayoshi Soken

It’s available now from the PlayStation Store:

To stay up to date with news and information about the game follow FINAL FANTASY XVI on social media: